Interstate 290 (Illinois)
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Interstate 290 Illinois

Interstate 290 marker
Interstate 290
Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway
I-290 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-90
Maintained by IDOT
Length29.84 mi[1] (48.02 km)
HistoryCompleted in 1972[3]
Signed as I-290 since 1978[4]
Major junctions
West end
I-90 Toll / IL 53 in Rolling Meadows
East end
I-90 / I-94 / IL 110 (CKC) in Chicago
CountiesCook, DuPage
Highway system

Interstate 290 (I-290) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway that runs westwards from the Chicago Loop. The portion of I-290 from I-294 to its east end is officially called the Dwight D. Eisenhower Expressway. In short form, it is known as "the Ike" or the Eisenhower. Before being designated the Eisenhower Expressway, the highway was called the Congress Expressway because of the surface street that was located approximately in its path and onto which I-290 runs at its eastern terminus in the Chicago Loop.[5]

I-290 connects I-90 (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) in Rolling Meadows with I-90/I-94 (John F. Kennedy Expressway / Dan Ryan Expressway) near the Loop. North of I-355, the freeway is sometimes known locally as Illinois Route 53 (IL 53), or simply Route 53, since IL 53 existed before I-290. However, it now merges with I-290 at Biesterfield Road. In total, I-290 is 29.84 miles (48.02 km) long.

Route description

Jane Addams Memorial Tollway to Veterans Memorial Tollway

I-290 at its northern terminus, the interchange with IL 53 and I-90, in Schaumburg
I- 290 at mile marker 4, looking north toward Schaumburg

This section is seven miles (11 km) long and runs from Rolling Meadows to Addison. It is the portion of I-290 more locally known as "Route 53."[] Here, I-290 runs largely above-grade through Schaumburg and Elk Grove Village, and at or below grade through Itasca and Addison.

The northern five miles (8.0 km) of this highway were reconstructed in 2003-04. A left shoulder and an auxiliary lane between ramps were added, as well as improved lighting. The highway is four lanes wide (not counting the auxiliary lane) north of Illinois Route 390 (mile marker 5), and five lanes wide with a wide left shoulder south to the exit to I-355.

Between mile markers 0 and 4, IL 53 overlaps this section of the Eisenhower Expressway.

Eisenhower Extension

This section is 11 miles (18 km) long and runs from Addison to Hillside. It took its name when the Eisenhower was extended northwest from Hillside. The highway runs largely at-grade or above-grade for this length. U.S. Route 20 (US 20) overlaps I-290 around Elmhurst from mile markers 12 to 13, and runs parallel to the rest of this section between mile markers 7 and 18.

This section of I-290 varies in width from two lanes at the ramp east from the I-290/I-355 split, to three lanes between I-355 and US 20, to three lanes plus two exit lanes at US 20/IL 64 (Lake Street / North Avenue) (exit 13B). After exit 13B, the highway reverts to three through traffic lanes. Exit 15 to southbound I-294 is a frequent point of congestion due to ramp traffic backing up onto the mainline highway, often as long as two miles (3.2 km). This is because the ramp is not isolated from the mainline, only one lane in width, is a low-speed ramp (marked as a 35 mph (56 km/h) ramp), and is relatively short (14 mi or 0.40 km) while carrying a high volume of truck traffic south to Indiana from North Avenue. Additionally, the sudden appearance of the exit tends to cause accidents when cars in the center lane try to aggressively turn into the right lane, particularly at the mouth of the I-294 exit. Finally, there is a dangerous high-volume weaving situation at the end of the ramp to I-294 with southbound I-294 traffic exiting to westbound I-88. As of 2006, there are no plans to overcome any of these problems with new construction.

The western three miles (4.8 km) of this section are blacktop, while east of IL 83 (exit 10) the original concrete is still in place.

Tri-State Tollway to Austin Boulevard

I-290 in Oak Park

This section of I-290 is seven miles (11 km) long, and it runs from Hillside to the western border of Chicago. This section is sometimes referred to as "The Avenues". As of 2002, it is the third-most-congested stretch of highway in the Chicago area, behind the Circle Interchange area and the intersection of the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Chicago Skyway.[6] It is known for having a high volume of traffic on ramps through the Avenues, and high volumes of traffic on left-side ramps in Forest Park and Oak Park. I-290 runs above grade west of Mannheim Road, and at or below grade east of Mannheim Road.

Eastbound at Mannheim Road (exit 17), the highway splits into two express and one local lane; they are joined by two onramps from I-88 and form express lanes three lanes wide and local lanes to Mannheim Road two lanes wide. After Mannheim Road, the highway immediately narrows to three lanes in width, causing mile-long (1.6 km) backups. It remains three lanes to Austin Boulevard. Westbound, I-290 merely is three lanes wide to Mannheim Road, and then four lanes wide to the I-88/I-290 split. Exits at Harlem Avenue (exit 21B) and Austin Boulevard (exit 23) are inverted single-point urban interchanges (inverted SPUIs), with left offramps and onramps. These cause backups as trucks switch lanes to exit, and a large volume of traffic enters on the left side of the highway.

In 2001-02, this section between mile markers 15 and 18 was reconstructed in the first phase of an attempt to untangle the "Hillside Strangler", adding the local lanes and extra on-ramp to I-290. The second phase, reconstruction of the highway between mile markers 18 and 23 (Mannheim Road to Austin Boulevard), is still in the preliminary engineering phase of construction as of April 2009.

Austin Boulevard to Chicago Loop

I-290 at mile marker 28, looking east toward downtown Chicago

The easternmost section of I-290 is seven miles (11 km) long and runs entirely through the city of Chicago to the terminus at I-90/I-94. It runs below grade for its entire length.

This highway is four lanes wide in both directions for its entire length, and most on-ramps and off-ramps are located just two blocks apart. Therefore, an exit in one direction may be marked one street (ex. Laramie Avenue), while the same exit in the other direction may be marked another (ex. Cicero Avenue), even though the streets are only a block apart. This configuration results in most exits on this portion of the road being marked as A/B exits.

Eastbound congestion is lighter here than through the "Avenues", generally limited to congestion on the tight onramps to the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways (the Circle Interchange) at the eastern terminus or blind onramps at Kostner Avenue and at Homan Avenue. Westbound, congestion is heavy starting at Laramie due to the left-hand exit at Austin (which combines a "perfect storm" of a four-down-to-three lane reduction, an unfamiliar left-hand exit, and entrance and in-merging traffic of the central onramp). Most afternoons, this bottleneck can skyrocket the "Post Office to Wolf (Road)" commute time to over an hour (up from 16 mins with no traffic).

The Eisenhower Expressway runs along blacktop pavement for the length of the section, except between Kostner Avenue and Independence Boulevard, where it runs on concrete pavement.

The eastern terminus of I-290 is the Circle Interchange with I-90/I-94. After this junction, the route becomes elevated and continues as a highway until LaSalle Street, at which point it passes under LaSalle Street Station and comes out the other side as a city street (Ida B. Wells Drive). The Congress Parkway (Ida B. Wells Drive) route continues east until the street is stopped by Buckingham Fountain.[7]

I-290 at Halsted Street

The Blue Line operates in the median of the Eisenhower from Halsted Street to Cicero Avenue. After Cicero, the line leaves the median and runs on the south side of the Eisenhower for the remainder of its route to Des Plaines Avenue, Forest Park.


Ribbon cutting opening Congress Expressway October 12, 1960
Ribbon cutting opening Congress Expressway October 12, 1960

An expressway along the alignment of the Eisenhower Expressway was foreshadowed by Daniel Burnham's plan of 1909, which described a west side boulevard. The passageway under the old Post Office was designed to preserve the right-of-way for the future road.[8]

The expressway is named for the former President and creator of the Interstate Highway System, Dwight D. Eisenhower; it originally was called the Congress Expressway because it begins on Congress Parkway (now called Ida B. Wells Drive) in Chicago. The political columnist Mike Royko joked that it is Chicago's only Republican expressway, since the others all named after Democrats (though since that observation Bishop Louis Henry Ford, a non-political figure, had a freeway named in his honor). The first segment, 2.5 miles (4.0 km) in length, opened from Mannheim Road to 1st Avenue in December 1955.[9] On December 15, an additional four miles (6.4 km) was opened, from Ashland Avenue (1600 West) to Laramie Avenue (5200 West).[10]

During the 1960s and 1970s, the Eisenhower Expressway was extended to Lake Street and North Avenue in Elmhurst. In 1963, the first working example of ramp metering took place on the Eisenhower Expressway, based on successful metering through New York City tunnels and data from ramp closures in Detroit, Michigan. The first implementation utilized a police officer at the top of an entrance ramp, stopping and releasing vehicles onto the highway at a predetermined rate.[11] Another section opened in 1972, to a north-south expressway in Addison, Illinois. At the time, this expressway was a short spur from the Eisenhower Expressway, and it was referred to as Illinois Route 53, which continued north to Schaumburg. Construction on Illinois 53 had finished in 1970.[12]

Until 1978, the Eisenhower Expressway was marked as a part of I-90. In 1978, the I-90 designation was moved onto the John F. Kennedy Expressway and the Northwest Tollway, replacing IL 194. The Eisenhower Expressway was then renumbered as I-290.[13]

Because the segment from I-294 to IL 53 was built last, that portion of the highway is referred to as the Eisenhower Extension. The Eisenhower Expressway, extension included, is 23 miles (37 km) long. If the IL 53 portion of I-290 is added to that, the highway is 30 miles (48 km) long.

In 2003-04, the first five miles (8.0 km) of I-290 out of Schaumburg were rebuilt, replacing pavement that had well-exceeded its estimated 20-year lifetime. (The original pavement was built in stages from 1963 through 1970 as part of IL 53.)[14] A fifth auxiliary lane was added between the entrance and exit ramps of exits 1, 4, and 5. The most important safety upgrade was the demolition of the raised grassy median between the westbound and eastbound lanes, and its replacement with a permanent concrete median and wide shoulders.

Inbound I-290 at the Hillside Strangler
Diagram of the Hillside Strangler

  • Hillside Strangler: Named after the Chicago suburb of Hillside, it refers to a major merge with I-88, and almost always is used when referring to inbound (eastbound) traffic. It is at this point that I-88 terminates eastbound. It was called the Strangler because, before its reconstruction in the early 2000s, seven through lanes were forced to merge to three, creating large backups. Reconstruction widened part of this area to nine lanes (five inbound; three through; two local; and four through lanes outbound). This allowed direct exits to Mannheim Road (US 12/US 20/US 45) from I-88, the ramp also serving for an I-88 truck access to eastbound I-290; created an inbound collector-distributor ramp for Mannheim Road; and added a timed gate that closed a ramp from Roosevelt Road (IL 38) to inbound I-290 during the afternoon rush hours. These improvements helped congestion at the site, but they also pushed pre-existing congestion further east to the six-lane portion of the highway. The Hillside Strangler is located at about mile marker 18.
  • The Avenues: The portion of the highway between Mannheim Road at mile marker 17 and First Avenue in Maywood, a stretch of three miles (4.8 km). Named because all of the crossroads between these two exits are named numerically, in ascending order traveling outbound (westbound). 1st Avenue (IL 171) is exit 20. There are exits to 9th Avenue, 17th Avenue, and 25th Avenue to the west. These exits are spaced about three-quarters of a mile (1200 m) apart. This stretch is notorious for being very congested.[6]
  • The Eisenhower Extension or 290 Extension: The eight miles (13 km) of road between current-day mile marker 7 (I-355 south to US 20/Lake Street) and North Avenue (IL 64), mile marker 15. This section was built in the late 1970s.
  • The Circle Interchange: The eastern terminus of I-290 where it meets I-90/I-94, which overlap through Chicago. North of this interchange I-90/I- 94 is called the Kennedy Expressway, while south of it I-90/I-94 is called the Dan Ryan Expressway. The interchange itself consists of eight heavily used, very tight ramps that wind around each other, giving the interchange a distinct circle shape when looked at from above. This design, adequate when first built in the 1950s, forces drivers to slow down to speeds of about 20 mph (32 km/h) due to its tightly wound curves. Not only does this lead to the worst congestion in the Chicago area,[6] a 2010 study of freight congestion (truck speed and travel time) by the Federal Highway Administration ranked this section of the I-290 as having the worst congestion in the United States; the average truck speed just 29 mph (47 km/h).[15] The interchange, rechristened the Jane Byrne interchange is currently being reworked with an estimated completion date.

Post Office

Drivers coming out from under the Post Office

Just east of the I-290-I-90/94 Junction in downtown Chicago, the Old Chicago Main Post Office is a building that stretches over Ida B. Wells Drive. If one drives eastbound on I-290 and continues past I-90/I-94, the highway ends and becomes Ida B. Wells Drive. The Post Office was a landmark that was sometimes used in referring to the end of I-290 in downtown Chicago. For example, a traffic reporter might say "...forty minutes from Mannheim to the Post Office".

This large building was used by the United States Postal Service until 1996. The building itself was built from 1921 to 1933 in the Art-Deco style, and it is 2.5 million square feet (230,000 m2) in size. The building built several decades before the expressway that passes through it, was originally designed to accommodate a roadway--requiring only minimal work to remove walls in the base for the freeway to pass through. In spite of its unused state, the building is still known to visitors and commuters alike as the unofficial gateway into the Chicago Loop area.[16] In late August 2009, the United States Postal Service announced an auction was to be held to sell the facility to the highest bidder. The winning bid ($40 million) was from an English real estate developer, Bill Davies.[17]

Exit list

CookRolling Meadows0.000.00 IL 53 northContinuation beyond I-90; west end of IL 53 overlap
I-90 Toll (Jane Addams Memorial Tollway) - Rockford, Chicago
Western terminus of I-290; I-90 exit 68A
Woodfield Road to IL 58 (Golf Road)
Signed as exit 1 westbound
1.442.321B IL 72 (Higgins Road)
Elk Grove Village3.936.324 IL 53 south (Biesterfield Road)East end of IL 53 overlap
IL 390 (Elgin-O'Hare Tollway)
Hamilton Lakes Drive / Park Boulevard
I-Pass only; IL 390 exits 12B-C
I-355 south to US 20 (Lake Street) - Joliet
Northern terminus of I-355
Addison10.6917.2010 IL 83 (Kingery Highway)Signed as exits 10A (south) and 10B (north)
Elmhurst12.3419.8612 US 20 west (Lake Street)
York Street
West end of US 20 overlap
13.4121.5813A IL 64 east (North Avenue) / US 20 east (Lake Street)

I-294 Toll north (Tri-State Tollway) - Milwaukee
East end of US 20 overlap; I-294 exit 33
13B IL 64 west (North Avenue)Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only; trucks prohibited
county line
Elmhurst-Berkeley line14.7623.7514St. Charles RoadSigned as exits 14A (west) and 14B (east); trucks prohibited on St. Charles Road west

I-294 Toll south (Tri-State Tollway) to I-88 Toll west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) - Indiana, Aurora
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance only; I-294 north exit 31
I-294 Toll north (Tri-State Tollway) - Milwaukee, O'Hare
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance only; I-294 south exit 31B

I-88 Toll west / IL 110 (CKC) west (Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway) - Aurora

I-294 Toll south (Tri-State Tollway) to IL 38 west (Roosevelt Road) - Indiana
West end of IL 110 overlap; westbound exit and eastbound entrance only; eastern terminus of I-88; western end of Eisenhower Expressway
16.4426.4616Wolf RoadWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
17.5228.2017 US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (Mannheim Road)Signed as exits 17A (east/south) and 17B (west/north) eastbound
Maywood18.5429.841825th AvenueSigned as exits 18A (south) and 18B (north)
19.0530.6619A17th Avenue
19.5631.4819B9th AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
20.0632.2820 IL 171 (1st Avenue)
Forest Park21.0233.8321ADes Plaines AvenueWestbound entrance and eastbound exit only
Oak Park21.5834.7321B IL 43 (Harlem Avenue)Inverted SPUI
23.0937.1623AAustin BoulevardInverted SPUI
Chicago23.6338.0323BCentral Avenue
24.0938.7724ALaramie AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
24.6139.6124B IL 50 (Cicero Avenue) - Midway AirportEastbound exit and westbound entrance only
25.1440.4625Kostner AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
25.7041.3626AIndependence Boulevard
26.4142.5026BHoman AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
26.9043.2927ASacramento AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance only
27.1543.6927BCalifornia AvenueWestbound exit and eastbound entrance only
27.6744.5327CWestern Avenue, Oakley Boulevard
28.1745.3428ADamen AvenueTo United Center
28.5445.9328BPaulina Street, Ashland Avenue
29.4347.3629ARacine AvenueEastbound exit and westbound entrance only
29.5347.5229BMorgan StreetWestbound exit only; only accessible from the I-90 west/I-94 west ramp
29.747.8Taylor Street/Roosevelt RoadEastbound exit only
29.8448.02 I-90 east / I-94 east (Dan Ryan Expressway) - Indiana

I-90 west / I-94 west (Kennedy Expressway) - Wisconsin

IL 110 (CKC) ends
Jane Byrne Interchange; eastern termini of I-290/IL 110; eastern end of Eisenhower Expressway; east end of IL 110 overlap; I-94 exit 51H
Ida B. Wells Drive - Chicago LoopContinuation beyond I-90/I-94; formerly Congress Parkway
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ Staff (October 31, 2002). "Table 2: Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of October 31, 2002". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved 2014.
  2. ^ "Chicago-Area Expressway". Retrieved 2020.
  3. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (1973). Illinois Highway Map (Map). [1:772,500]. Springfield: Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2020 – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  4. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (1979). Illinois Highway Map (Map). [1:772,500]. Springfield: Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2020 – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  5. ^ Illinois Division of Highways; H.M. Gousha (1957). Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). [1:805,000]. Springfield: Illinois Division of Highways. Retrieved 2020 – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  6. ^ a b c Cambridge Systematics, Inc. & Texas Transportation Institute (July 19, 2004). "2.0 Background to the Congestion Problem". Traffic Congestion and Reliability: Linking Solutions to Problems. Federal Highway Administration.
  7. ^ "Interstate 290". Interstate Guide. AA Roads. Retrieved 2014.[self-published source]
  8. ^ Plummer, Andy (2006). "Building the Congress Expressway". Building the Cook County Expressway System. Retrieved 2006.[self-published source]
  9. ^ Plummer, Andy (2006). "The Race to Catch Up in Building an Expressway System". Building the Cook County Expressway System. Retrieved 2006.[self-published source]
  10. ^ Plummer, Andy (2006). "The First New Chicago Expressway". Building the Cook County Expressway System. Retrieved 2006.[self-published source]
  11. ^ Piotrowicz, Gary & Robinson, James (1995). Ramp Metering Status in North America: 1995 Update (PDF). Federal Highway Administration. p. 3. DOT-T-95-17. Retrieved 2008.
  12. ^ Carlson, Rich (April 15, 2005). "Routes 203 and up". Illinois Highways Page. Retrieved 2007.[self-published source]
  13. ^ Illinois Department of Transportation (1979). Illinois Highway Map (Map). [1:772,500]. Springfield: Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2020 – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  14. ^ Carlson, Rich (March 15, 2006). "Routes 41 thru 60". Illinois State Highways Page. Retrieved 2006.[self-published source]
  15. ^ Office of Freight Management and Operations (2011). "Table 3-9: Top 25 Freight Highway Locations by Freight Congestion Index Rating, 2010". Freight Facts and Figures 2011. Federal Highway Administration.
  16. ^ Gallun, Alby (July 1, 2005). "$300M revival plan for Post Office". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 2006.
  17. ^ Bartosik, Matt (September 10, 2009). "Post Office Buyer May Not Deliver: Investor Has Had History of Failed Projects". Chicago: WMAQ-TV. Retrieved 2015.
  18. ^ Illinois Technology Transfer Center (2006). "T2 GIS Data". Illinois Department of Transportation. Retrieved 2007.

External links

Route map:

KML is from Wikidata

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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